Computer science majors are ideal for learning the programming skills to develop creative technology solutions that solve computing problems. Translating questions into commands that computer machinery can easily follow is what computer science is all about. Many online colleges offer computer science degrees to make this rigorous, scientific major accessible and affordable. Investing in a computer science program can provide significant returns in the tech-driven job market.
Since college tuition prices are often astronomical, we’d like to recognize the top 10 cheapest online bachelor of computer science degrees. Thanks to the NCES College Navigator tool, we weeded out online universities conferring bachelor’s programs with average in-state tuition under $10,000. Potential colleges had to provide a computer science degree primarily online with hands-on tech practice. Every prospective school had to be regionally accredited rather than nationally accredited. Extra brownie points were bestowed to universities with published recognition for top-ranking education. Other important factors were financial aid, credit transfer, student-faculty ratio, job placement, and curriculum. Lastly, we organized the list from cheapest to slightly more expensive. That said, here are the Top 10 Cheapest Online Bachelor of Computer Science Degrees:
1. Brigham Young University – Idaho
Owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University – Idaho is a private, non-profit liberal arts institution enrolling over 17,500 students in Rexburg. Given a “B” financial grade from Forbes, Brigham Young University – Idaho is ranked the 13th Best Regional College in the West by the U.S. News and World Report. With our list’s lowest tuition, the Online Learning Division provides a Bachelor of Science in Applied Technology. This 120-credit program develops tech-savvy graduates for designing, developing, and managing computer systems. Online Computer Information Technology courses are supplemented with senior practicum and a capstone project.
Learn more about the BYU Idaho’s Online Computer Science Degree Programs here.
2. University of Florida
Endowed for $1.5 billion, the University of Florida is a flagship public, sea-grant research institution educating more than 52,500 Gators in Gainesville and online. Named the third Best Value by Kiplinger’s, Florida is America’s 14th Top Public School and 18th Most Innovative University according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering offers its Bachelor of Science in Computer Science online. For 120 credits, the curriculum tailors to interests in mobile applications, software engineering, programming, and more. The eighth semester is devoted to a culminating senior project.
3. Fort Hays State University
Sitting atop 4,160 rural acres in northwestern Kansas off Interstate 70, Fort Hays State University is the state’s fourth-largest public, “Military Friendly” institution with over 14,200 students. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Fort Hays State University has the 24th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees nationwide. Among them is the Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. The Virtual College houses this 120-credit program with tracks for Business or Networking. Graduates excel as computer engineers, network architects, web developers, cyber security analysts, and more. Fort Hays State University has an average retention rate of 68 percent.
4. California State University, Monterey Bay
Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), California State University, Monterey Bay enrolls around 7,100 students within the public, 23-campus California State University system and on the Central Coast. Placed in Washington Monthly’s Top 15 Percent of Schools, California State University, Monterey Bay was named the West’s 18th Best Public University by the U.S. News and World Report. The School of Computing & Design offers a Computer Science Bachelor of Science degree completion program online. Associate degree holders must transfer 60+ semester credits. Online courses blend computer science theory with hands-on practice in software engineering and the “Technology Tutors” service-learning project.
5. Thomas Edison State University
Founded in 1972, Thomas Edison State University is a young public, state-funded teaching institution located in Trenton, New Jersey, to serve approximately 18,500 students. Declared the “College That Paved Way for Flexibility” in the New York Times, TESU was ranked among Forbes’ Top 20 Cyber Universities. The Heavin School of Arts & Sciences grants an affordable Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science online. Requiring 120 credits, the online degree mixes liberal arts disciplines with technology and programming languages. Up to 80 credits can be transferred, including CLEP exams.
6. University of Maryland University College
Featuring 53 locations, the University of Maryland University College is a public, state-assisted higher learning institution in Adelphi serving over 90,000 students with open admissions. With a student-faculty ratio of 22:1, UMUC was ranked #1 among Military Times magazine’s “Best for Vets Colleges.” For mastering Java and C++, UMUC offers its Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree 100 percent online. This 120-credit program develops modern computing knowledge for industry certifications like Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. Minors are available in Cybersecurity, Digital Media, and Information Systems.
7. Troy University
With enrollment surpassing 19,500, Troy University is a regionally accredited public, co-educational institution based in Troy, Alabama, with extension sites in 11 countries and online. Named among Princeton Review’s “Best Southeastern” schools, Troy has the nation’s 100th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs according to the U.S. News and World Report. Through eTroy, online students could pursue the Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science. With a one-on-one tutoring program, his 36-credit major develops real-world networking skills to solve computer system problems. On average, bachelor’s graduates from Troy obtain a $61,000 starting salary.
8. Dakota State University
Opened as Madison Normal School in 1881, Dakota State University is a public, tech-centric “laptop” institution educating around 3,000 students in the Mount Rushmore State. Recently placing second in the National Cyber League, Dakota State University is the Midwest’s 30th Top Public School and 71st Best College for Veterans. Dakota State’s NSA Center of Excellence offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science online. Using DSUnix, students log into this 120-credit program and enrich their knowledge of computer applications. Online learners could also earn the Bachelor of Science in Computer Game Design or B.S. in Cyber Operations.
9. Trident University International
Formerly linked to Touro College, Trident University International is a private, for-profit online institution purchased by Summit Partners to educate around 8,000 students. Headquartered in Cypress, California, with Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation, Trident is named the 19th “Best for Vets” college in Military Times magazine. As part of Cyber Watch West, Trident awards a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science fully online. This case-based, 120-credit program produces computer scientists with or without the Cyber Security Concentration. Designed for transfer students, the degree is traditionally completed in 48 months.
10. Rasmussen College
Enrolling over 13,600 students, Rasmussen College is a private, for-profit business institution headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 24 national campuses and an online division. Holding regional Higher Learning Commission -North Central Association (HLC-NCA) accreditation, Rasmussen was ranked the 13th Best Value Online College for 2016. The School of Technology awards an 18-month, online degree completion program for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. The 60-credit curriculum offers mobile application specializations for Appled iOS or Microsoft Universal Windows. Rasmussen graduates have achieved success with Xerox, Verizon, Citrix, Best Buy, and more.
Why Should I Get a Computer Science Degree Online?
Embracing your inner computer genius can pay off in today’s digital world. Computer science is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that computer-related occupations will expand by 12 percent through 2024, thus opening 488,500 new positions. Most of these high-tech roles will require holding at least a four-year bachelor’s degree.
According to Forbes, computer science is the third most valuable major with a median mid-career salary of $97,900. Salary potential only grows for computer science grads who assume top-paying jobs like software architect, analytics manager, IT security director, and Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Picking one of these Top 10 Cheapest Online Bachelor of Computer Science Degrees can further extend your Return On Investment.
What Do You Learn in Computer Science Online Programs?
Higher education isn’t always the same, and different programs will have different coursework, but some of the things you’ll learn about in a computer science programs might include:
- software development
- artificial intelligence
- data structures
- operating systems
- information security
- computer architecture
- computer network fundamentals
- cloud computing
- database management
- project management
- information systems security
- human-computer interaction
- data science
- computer information systems
Of course, you’ll also have electives and ther computer science courses. Some will be focused on specific programming languages like Python. Others will prepare you for in-demand computer science careers like computer programmer or systems analyst. You will also need to develop your problem-solving skills
There is very little difference from learning in-person on-campus or online when it comes to computer science, or learning full-time or part-time. Tuition rates are often lower for online programs, though there may be out-of-state fees for public universities.
You may find that you want to go on to a master’s degree to meet your career goals. If that’s the case, keep your GPA high and make sure you have credit hours to enroll in a graduate degree program. Some online graduate programs include Southern New Hampshire University, the University of Illinois, Lamar University, the University of Colorado, and Oregon State University.